Urban water restrictions are an important tool that Victorian water corporations can use to save water during drought, water shortage or emergency supply events.

Urban water restrictions limit how and when drinking (or potable) water can be used outdoors for activities, including:

  • watering gardens, lawns, parks and sporting grounds,
  • car washing,
  • filling and topping up swimming pools and spas, and
  • outdoor cleaning and construction.

There are four stages of urban water restrictions, ranging from stage one (least severe) to stage four (most severe). They apply to both households and businesses, and there are penalties if restriction rules are not followed.

The Water Restriction By-law is what gives effect to Victoria’s urban water restrictions. All 15 Victorian urban water corporations have a Water Restriction By-law in place. These will expire from December 2021.

In collaboration with the water industry, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has prepared a Model Water Restriction By-law to replace the existing Water Restriction By-laws when they expire.

The proposed Model Water Restriction By-law is the same as the existing Water Restriction By-law, with two minor additions:

  • Encourage the use of alternative water sources (such as recycled water) for dust suppression under all stages of restriction where it is practical, safe and reasonable to do so. The existing By-law only encourages the use of alternative sources under stage 4 restrictions.
  • Require residential and commercial pool and spa owners under stage 4 restrictions to submit a Water Use Plan if topping them up with anything other than a bucket or watering can. The existing By-law only allows top ups using a bucket or watering can under stage 4 restrictions. The change will encourage pool and spa owners to consider water efficient practices, such as using a cover, to help conserve water during restrictions.

No other changes are proposed.

Next steps

The submission period closed on Tuesday 9 November 2021.

A summary of the submissions received, issues raised, and how they have been addressed will be prepared and published on this website in early 2022.

After considering the public responses and submissions, the Minister will issue the Model Water Restriction By-law to all Victorian urban water corporations.

Each water corporation will publish a notice in the Government Gazette and their local newspapers to advise when the Water Restriction By-law has come into effect.

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Privacy collection notice

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is committed to protecting personal information provided by you in accordance with the principles of the Victorian privacy laws.

The information you provide will only be used to carry out the public consultation on the proposed Model Water Restriction By-law as required by the Water Act 1989. It will be made available to relevant DELWP officers carrying out the public consultation, and a summary of issues raised will be used to brief the Minister for Water who is responsible for issuing the Model Water Restriction By-law.

Following this consultation, a summary of submissions received will be made public on the Engage Victoria webpage.

If you are making comments or a submission as an individual, we may publish and/or directly refer to your comments in the summary of submissions. The information you provide will be de-identified, meaning all identifying information will be removed and no personal or sensitive information will be included.

If you are making comments or a submission as an organisation, your comments including the name of your organisation may be published as part of the summary of submissions.

You (as an individual or organisation) can request for your comments or submission to remain confidential. This means we will not publish or directly refer to them in the summary of submissions.

You are not required to provide any personal information to make a submission to this consultation. All fields on the submission form relating to personal information are optional.

You should avoid including personal information in your submission and must not include the personal information of a third party without the prior written consent of that person. You should also avoid including information of a commercial or financial nature.

If you freely and voluntarily provide any ‘sensitive information’ under the Act in your submission the department will consider that provision to be consent to collect the information and will then protect it under the Information Privacy Principles in the Act. Sensitive information includes information relating to political opinions, membership of a political association or trade association/union.

You may access the information you have provided to the department, and request that it be corrected, by contacting water.efficiency@delwp.vic.gov.au.

For further information on how your personal information is handled, please review DELWP’s Privacy Policy.